Many wonderful memories were created at the 2016 Rio Olympics, including in the world of golf. In fact, South Korea’s Inbee Park is now the first woman in 116 years to win a gold medal in golf. Park had the same score as men’s gold medalist Justin Rose with 72 holes at 16 under. The silver medal was won by Lydia Ko who holed a 7-foot birdie putt at the last hole, allowing her to finish 11 and under. Then, China’s Shanshan Feng shot 69 for 10 and took the bronze. The Women’s USA Olympic Golf Team sadly were just shy of the bronze.
No matter who won the medals in the Rio Summer Olympics, it has just simply been “Awesomesauce” for Women’s Golf! I do believe and surely hope this will bring more women into the game, and it has been so exciting to see golf on the world stage as it should be.
… so, what did happened to the US?
It was a playoff Saturday, in the final round of the women’s tournament at the Olympic Golf Course when the USA’s Stacy Lewis was so close to winning the bronze medal. Yet, it was all of Friday that kept her from the coveted medal.
Lewis ended up tying for fourth at 9 under along with Japan’s Haru Nomura and South Korea’s Amy Yang. American Gerina Piller also wanted to close a two-shot deficit on Park in order to go for the gold. Instead, she ended up with a 3-over 74 to finish jointly 11th on 6 under.
Lewis did not have high expectations for the Olympics. Although, it was the second-round 63, which did give her and her fans some hope. She appeared to make every putt. Yet, it was the third round that left many scratching their heads. One point in particular was a double bogey on the last hole where she ended up in a 5-over 76.
It will be considered the reason Lewis left Rio without a medal to her name. She started the third round with seven shots off Park’s lead. It was a lot of ground to make up. The issue was leaving her 15-foot birdie putt short on the last hole. Otherwise, she might have catapulted into a race for the bronze. She was just one shot behind the bronze medal!
Lewis shrugged it off by saying, “You’ve got 60 players in the field and only three can be on the podium. It was going to be hard to get there anyway. You’ve got all the top players in the world here. You’re going to have to play some great golf to get up there on the podium.”
The birdies on 16 and 17 though gave her a chance at the bronze medal. So close, yet, so far. Lewis added, “To have a good day after (Friday) where nothing went right was a big deal for me personally. To post a number to give myself a chance at the medal at the end, I think coming into the week, that’s all you can ask for.”
Well, there’s always the 2020 Olympics!
As we leave the 2016 Olympics behind us, I believe the inclusion of golf in the Rio Summer Games has been very very good for the game of golf, and for women’s golf in particular.
Q. Without knowing the TV ratings and numbers and statistics, in your estimation, obviously talking to others, what do you think these past four days have done for women’s golf?
STACY LEWIS: I think it’s been great. I’ve had more messages and more texts from people that don’t really watch golf. My parents have gotten messages from people that they haven’t heard from in years, and they are watching golf just because it’s part of the Olympics.
I hope this made a mark for us, and you know, hopefully, we’ll be in the Olympics for years to come.
We can hope the excitement will continue, and the Women’s USA Olympic Golf Team will again be raring to go in 2020!
But, the Real Winners in Rio?
ALL of us who love to watch and play women’s golf – That’s Who!!!
Thank You Rio! … and to all those who participated.